New Zealand Tasting

If you are ever invited to attend a tasting, I would recommend going.  On Tuesday 11th January New Zealand Winegrowers held its annual tasting in London.  The trade event was during the day with the evening dedicated to consumers.  I was late so I decided to focus on a few tables and more specifically Riesling, a grape that I think it still misunderstood.  Rieslings can be very dry or quite sweet, depending on how it’s made.  Usually you can taste flavours from apple, lemon, tropical fruit and lime for a young wine and toast, honey, kerosene with older wines.

Map of New Zealand

Map of New Zealand


Pegasus Bay Riesling Waipara 2008, £15. From a family owned winery 35 minute drive north of Christchurch on the South Island this offers aromas of kerosene and lime complimented by high acidity and a freshness to it, even a slight spritz.  Perfect with chicken chili stir fry.

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling Waipara 2009, £16.50. Speaking to the importer of this wine, I learnt some botrytis affected grapes were added to this wine.  This was fermented dry but due to the botrytis affected grapes, there is a touch of sweetness to the wine.  When grapes are affected by botrytis/noble rot, it makes the water in the grapes dry so they become shrivelled.  The sugar quantity in the grape remains the same but the acidity decreases which means the juice is sweet and concentrated.  Hints of lime and lemon zest on the nose follow through on the palate with hints of marmalade and sweetness.  Perfect with honey glazed chicken.

Pegasus Bay Aria Late Picked Riesling Waipara 2008, £19. Late picked means the grapes have now had a long time to ripen on the vine so the grapes dehydrate with a higher sugar concentration.  The colour of the wine, a deep lemon, almost the colour of a tiger’s eye indicates it was late picked.  Aromas of marmalade, citrus peel with refreshing acidity are coupled with a richness to it.  Full bodied this is perfect with apple tart.